The head of a major Canadian trucking organization says that the federal government’s messaging on vaccine mandates for truck drivers has created a state of chaos across the industry.
According to President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada Mike Millian, unvaccinated truckers already en route to the US with goods should be granted an exemption from the order.
Millian said the Liberals’ “flip flopping” and lack of clarity has created “mass confusion” across the sector.
“With the news circulating on the 13th, and no clarification or correction in messaging… many carriers then dispatched some unvaccinated drivers into the U.S. to cover loads that needed to be delivered,” said Millian.
On Thursday, Federal Liberal health minister Jean Yves-Duclos effectively reversed a prior reversal on requiring essential truck drivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, saying that the earlier announcement had been “provided in error.”
Media reports had indicated Wednesday that the Liberals were backing down on the mandate after facing pressure from trucking organizations who warned that the mandate could severely impact Canada’s supply chain and lead to a shortage of goods across the country.
The Liberal mandate is set to take up to 26,000 US and Canadian truck drivers off their cross-border routes.
“If the message provided late Wednesday was made in error, why did it take officials over 16 hours to release a statement correcting the error?” asked Millian.
“This 16-hour period of silence has thrown many drivers’ lives into upheaval and will leave some having to quarantine at home for 14 days as a result of an erroneous message from government officials.”
With the mandate in effect, truckers who are not vaccinated along with their transport goods will be turned away from the border if they can’t prove they’ve received at least two COVID-19 vaccines.
“We already have a fractured supply chain, and if we damage that, the supplies that we need for our own health and safety – we’re going to see a shortage,” said Millian.
Canadian Trucking Alliance President Stephen Laskowski echoed Millian’s remarks, saying that the mandate will “definitely have a negative impact” on how goods are brought to market.
“There isn’t one aspect of the supply chain that won’t be impacted by this measure,” Laskowski said.